A BABY elephant born in Bewdley has been named Sutton in memory of cancer fundraiser Stephen Sutton.
West Midland Safari Park held a competition on social media to name the calf, prompting an outpouring of public support for both the names Stephen and Sutton.
Each received around 2,000 votes out of a total of 5,000 received and the park’s staff eventually settled on Sutton.
Bob Lawrence, director of wildlife at the visitor attraction, said: "This is a fitting tribute to an inspirational young man who captured the hearts and minds of so many for his remarkable achievements.”
Carole Thompson, who voted in support of the names on Facebook, wrote on the social media site: “Please call your beautiful baby elephant Stephen or Sutton in memory of a beautiful young man who did so much for so many before losing his battle for life at just 19 years old, this way his name can live on. Thank you and god bless.”
Stephen Sutton met Five, the baby elephant’s mother, in January to tick off number 30 on his bucket list - “hug an animal that is bigger than me”.
In a twist of coincidence the calf’s father, a wild bull elephant from South Africa whose semen was used to artificially inseminate Five, is also called Steve.
Baby Sutton, who was the first elephant to be born at West Midland Safari Park in its 41-year history, is now five weeks old and weighs 130kg.
He lives in the park’s elephant valley under the watchful gaze of mum and his ‘aunt’ Latabe, who hit the headlines recently for taking the world’s first elephant selfie – or ‘elfie’.
Stephen Sutton, of Burntwood, Staffordshire, who died on May 14, has raised more than £4.2 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust.